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HM Cutter Sherbourne by bonjourmatelot - Caldercraft - Scale 1:64

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Oh No, not another Sherbourne Build Log !

Yes, I am afraid here is another one to add to the fleet.

It took some time looking here on MSW for inspiration to select my first boat.

I humm'd and haa'd over what to buy, the Manufacturer (Caldercraft/Jotika) was an easy choice but the subject somewhat harder.

I fancied HM Yacht Chatham, Schooner Ballahoo, HM Brig Supply and others from the Nelsons Navy Series.

Chatham and Sherbourne came tops for one reason - one mast and therefore less complicated rigging.

I favoured Chatham but at the time this fantastic resource (MSW) had more detail on Sherbourne so away we went and Sherbourne was duly ordered.

I had no experience of ship building but did spend over 25 years building R/C aircraft from trainers to 1/4 scale models and was looking for something that did not take up too much space (unlike 1/4 scale biplanes) and would enable me to keep up my building skills.

The kit arrived and when I had cleaned up the keel and formers wondered why I had one too many formers compared to the plan.

Whoops, wrong sheet of parts in the kit which was promptly sorted out by Jotika.


Despite all the information available here there was some initial trepidation when starting out.

I had never attempted planking on a hull so was trying to think several steps ahead whenever I did anything which slowed down the initial build. I do remember planking a balsa glider (Minimoa, if my memory is correct) and how that looked like a starved horse.


Anyway, here we go......




Bearding Line ? Rabbett ? confusion sort of reigned - I had the general idea but will pay more attention to these

on the next model. Balsa block added between the first two formers which is a must.




Stern end, learning all the lingo took some time. I have an interest in full size boats and thought I knew quite a bit until I found MSW ! Some balsa added right at the stern but I should have added more to give a graceful rounded bottom - Ooo, Nurse.




Thankfully I saw on previous build logs the tip to drill three holes before gluing the keel to the formers.

What you can't see here are two problems which are about to raise their heads:

1) The bow end of the keel where the three holes were drilled split when the bulwark sides were fitted - easily fixed with an application of PVA and a peg - a brilliant use for a peg, far better than the use 'The Admiral' at home has for them !

2) The starboard bulwark side on fitting and gluing was about 1/16" lower than the port side. Pretty obvious when you looked at the hull from the front. More on this later but it meant I had to open another bottle of Thinking Water or as it says on the label - Whisky - Damn !




A picture says a thousand words and for each step I found myself looking at other build logs to see if I could see how someone else had done it especially regarding the planking. In the end you just have to get on with it so I am hoping that a few more pictures may just help someone else.

Here is the stern with some planks in place - see what I mean about a rounded bottom ? More like a starved horse at the moment which did require some filler.




The bow went better than I hoped, bits of offcut wood between the rabbett and the planks held the wood in place while it glued - saved on pins !




At times I found it difficult to work out what to do next with some of the planking so moved on and hoped it would become clearer. I had read about stealers etc but found it difficult to visualise what I needed to do. 

I suppose this is where experience comes in.




Dobbin the starved horse making another appearance, wish I had added more balsa fillers........




Almost there, I know it is a hobby and everything should be enjoyed but finishing the first planking is a bit of a milestone. I had decided that as long as the planking was secure to the formers and reasonably equal either side then all would come right with the second planking - a case of too much Thinking Water, I'm afraid.

I will stop for now, more pictures to post but I see that there are notices about problems with the server and changing Disc One - will post some more tomorrow - pip pip !






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Before I forget, I must say that I sawed halfway through the bulwark tabs before fitting the bulwark sides.

The tabs are 1/8" ply and quite hard so cutting them right through would have been a difficult task.

Unsurprisingly some of them fell off where I had been over generous with the hacksaw blade but not enough to prevent

the bulwark sides from being glued to the hull. Phew !

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Hey There, jeez you are flying along.. took me weeks to get to your stage and that was on a smaller boat (Ballahoo)

I don't think you should worry too much about Starvin Dobbin cos when you begin to sand he should begin to disappear... famous last words there straight away ^_^

I like the pins by the way .. for some reason I'm reminded of Lolly Pops !! and don't get me started on Pegs, there is some weird fettish going on over on my Ballahoo build with the things.. and clamps, basically Pins Pegs & Clamps Monthly subscriptions are still available !


All The Best



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Welcome to the fleet! I see you’ve made a good start, keep it up. The Sherbourne is a good choice; hours of pleasure are ahead of you.

As for the rigging: I wouldn’t say it’s less complicated; it’s less repetitive, having only one mast. But as I’m finding out now, almost everything is there… (Professionals, please overlook the last remark ;) ), it adds to the fun.

Enjoy building,


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Great! Lovely to have another Sherbourne. I wonder if it might have called in at Leigh on Sea in its day (although your identifier says Leign on Sea, I presume it's Leigh).


The photos show you're off to a cracking start.


I'm very much looking forward to the continuation.


And welcome to MSW!



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Hi Bonjourmatelot,


Welcome from yet another 'Sherbourner', or is that 'Sherbournite', or even 'Sherbournist'? :huh:


Anyway, good choice of kit to start on, as you'll find out – or as second kit in my case. I think you'll find this a very enjoyable build, as I think we all have, and you can add as much detail as you like.


You seem to have made a good start, and it's looking good. I think the 'starved horse' look, especially at the stern, comes from the fact that you probably didn't sand the last bulkheads enough, to follow the curve. Not to worry, as Eamonn mentioned, this can usually be overcome by sanding – and the second planking layer should just about, er, cover it. :D


Good call on cutting through the tops of the bulkheads. I cut mine about halfway through and it certainly helped. I imagine like me you were frightened half to death by the words in the instructions, which said something like, 'with a pair of pliers, wrench off the frame tops'. I thought 'what? no way', having visions – perhaps nightmare's – of untold damage! :o


Anyway, nice to have you with us, and I'm sure we'll help wherever we can – especially where the instructions are unclear, or downright confusing! Btw, can we know your name?

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Thank you all for your kind words, it is great getting positive feedback which I suppose is what MSW is all about.

Having spent some months lurking and watching in a furtive way it is a bit daunting posting pictures of my work.

Can I ask does everyone else work in fits and starts ?

I started off quite well with the build up to completing the first planking taking about three weeks.

I then lost the urge and spent some time picking it up, thinking about the second planking and putting it down again.

In the end - well, the last few weeks - I realised that I needed to sort out the unequal bulwark sides which in a way helped me to get going again.

Having sorted that I am starting the second planking with renewed interest.


A few words about me as I was asked - Leigh on Sea is where I live and whenever I look across the Thames Estuary to what was the Nore I do wonder about all those ships that have sailed past here over the years.  As I work on Southend Pier (or Sarfend as we call it) I spend quite a bit of time looking at the Thames Estuary.

My name is Iain, don't ask why I chose BonjourMatelot !

More pictures soon, thanks all for your interest !

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Can I ask does everyone else work in fits and starts?




In short, yes its quite normal, and hits now and then. I actually haven't touched my Sherbourne for several days now, although I do have a cold at the moment which doesn't help. However I'm on the mend, and the urge to return to it is coming back.


Re. your unequal bulwark strips, I hope you won't have an issue later with fitting the guns through the gunports, if one side is a little too low! I had that problem, the two after ones on the port side wouldn't fit (the strip was a little too low at the aft end) and I went to all sorts of trouble to sort it out until they did (and even now they just brush the top edge).  I actually make up one of the guns when I noticed the problem, which helped.


Anyway, looking good so far. Looking forward to more. :)

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Hey There Iain, I've been past that pier on many occasions on the way up London River (Weirdly we never called it Thames.. don't know why) to Tilbury and the like, quiet a beautiful stretch of water I always thought. We would occasionally anchor off the Pier, and I would use it as one of my reference points to check we weren't dragging! ^_^  Sadly it was years later that I realised the history surrounding that whole area.. Oh Well .

I too am looking forward to your next updates !


All The Best From Another Sporadic Builder.



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I often not only have several days off, but sometimes weeks at a time. There are lots of reasons for people not doing their building all day every day. There is someone on the forum who posts a motto saying something like 'it ain't a hobby if you hurry', and someone else who posts something along the lines of 'if you're not enjoying it, then don't do it' (with the implication that if you don't feel like it at the time, there's no one asking you to do it, so there's no point in agitating).


This hobby is very much self-driven, and I'm sure you've picked up from many contributors that they're not going to worry if you're not performing to a schedule. From the point of view of someone following your log, they're not going to pay much attention to the dates on your posting. What is interesting is what you've done, the questions you ask, and what can be learned or contributed.


Some people seem to be able to devote the whole day to the hobby, for some it is a business, and for others they'll pick up the odd hour or two when they can find the time.


Then there's the time that is very nicely spent researching, reading or simply looking at other builds on the forum to find out how people do things.


My own schedule has been crazy -- not least because I decided to do some parts several times over until I arrived at a stage that I felt acceptable (if not perfect), One difficulty is that I keep learning from others how to do it a bit better -- so my problem is deciding the cut-off point at which I say enough tinkering and move on. But I've also had tons of travelling to do and intensive work schedules, let alone the day-to-day business of family life, repairs in the household and the like.


You'll see lots of logs saying something like 'life has got in the way recently', and thank goodness for that.


So, in short, take your own time, what suits you, and don't feel under pressure to 'perform'. There's lots of flexibility in this hobby, and if you make mistakes many are fixable (just as Kester has pointed out).



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Thanks all - again, thank you for all of your comments.....

Yes, I was alarmed as Stockhold Tar was at the words ' wrench off the tabs' or similar in the instructions. That would have been like a hurricane force ripping the boat apart even before it had been floated ! I did not like the way my red-handled pliers were eyeing up the hull in anticipation !

The bulwarks were my recent stumbling blocks as they suffered from different levels each side. Hopefully my post on how I got round it (once I finish) will explain all.

In answer to Eamonn I suppose from a boat/ship it is called the London River but when you are ashore it's called the Thames and to my eyes a lovely place to be and steeped in history.

There have been some dodgy ships moored off the pier in recent years Eamonn but I am pleased to tell that in the last five years the only ones to hit it have been a barge mooreed just off the pier head which broke its moorings in a puff of wind and damaged the walkway then a local fishing boat which struck the pier at full bore and high tide damaging the walkway (again).

Hopefully I will post the last set of photos in the next few days which will get me up to date.

Again, thank you all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had hoped to post some more by now but Easter got in the way and as we were very busy on the Pier I was rather tired and emotional after work.

- I think it was called " tired and sh*gged out after a long squark " in Monty Python's Parrot Sketch - I am still on post here as all ships had parrots !

Anyway, another set of dodgy photos and weak excuses why I can't glue anything in a straight line !


In the middle of winter for some light amusement I thought about the decking and how to replicate caulking and treenails. Having read all the Sherbourne posts (thanks, guys) and read through the secondhand copy of Historic Ship Models by Wolfram zu Mondfeld that I had acquired from the USA thanks to the t'Internet I thought I would try a dummy run of soft pencil, black paint and permanent marker to see which I felt looked the best - I feel I am almost 'Kit Bashing' here ! - anyway, the pencil won the day for me. It is easily removed if you make a mistake and looks more natural. Only time will tell.....I also intend to do some joggling on the decking but how much remains to be seen.




Here are a few shots of the finished first planking and hull. It was a relief to finish and my first milestone in the build.

I was pleased that I did not need too much filler and that most of the planking has not been sanded away !








By now I was feeling very pleased with myself and somewhat smug. However, I was about to discover that

someone else had glued one of the bulwarks, don't know who it was but it was not me !

Looking at the bow I realised that the starboard bulwark was about 2mm or 2/3rds of a gnats lower than the port bulwark and it was very obvious.

After a lot of head scratching I thought that if I planked the inside of the bulwarks first I could build that side up a tad, add a 2mm fillet to the top of the stbd. side and then plank the outside to fit. The portholes could be 're-aligned' accordingly and hopefully some of the well known errors sorted out.


Here you can see how much lower the starboard bulwark is and the fillet on top.




View below of the starboard bulwarks and hull showing the fillet prior to second planking externally.




All of this has forced me to think about how to do the second planking and where to start.

In the end I have opted to start to plank downwards from the top of the bulwarks and see what happens.

I may also start to plank from the garboard and meet in the middle but I intend to only do two planks at a time and spend as much time as I can in getting a decent fit and look.

I also have a new Quadcopter kit coming which might divert me for a while (hope I keep my fingers!) but so far I am pleased with the progress.

My mind is thinking about how to fill the small gaps in the walnut planking. When I sand the planking most of the gaps are left filled with 'Walnut Dust' which soon falls out. I have started to save this dust in a box (I can't let people at work know about this !) but wonder what is the best way to get the dust to stay in the gaps. Superglue/Cyano ?

Mixed with PVA ?

The tears of a maiden who has lost her lover ?

I would be interested to hear your views. Cheers for now and thanks again...............



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Great to see the first stage done. Really pleasing, isn't it! You've made a nice job of it.


It will be very exciting to see the Sherbourne fitted with a landing pad for the quadcopter. Possibly a first on this forum, and it will lay to rest all the discussions about where to put the ship's boat -- it's now the ship's quadcopter, which clearly couldn't be towed behind, unless on a raft of course. You might have to make the mainsheet a bit smaller, though, if you do have a landing pad.


Like you, I found pencil to be a very nice method of caulking.


In terms of planking, the planking patterns above and below the wale seemed to me to be a bit different and I seem to remember that I treated them separately -- measuring to and from the wale's position above and below. For the area beneath the wale I don't think there's any defined wisdom as to whether you start at the top or at the garboard. I went the way of the tutorial on this forum by starting at the garboard, but I also laid planking at the wale and worked my way toward the middle. You might also think about whether you use the kit wood for the second planking or whether you buy thinner planking which is easier to lay (especially if, like me, you haven't cut a rabbet or left enough space for the 1mm wood supplied).


As for the dust it makes a superb filler when mixed with dilute PVA -- and it certainly saves on buying special filler.


I am sure, though, that others with more experience will be chipping in with their advice. My own is based on a rather hazy memory.



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I used the same method with the planking as Tony, it seemed to work nicely. But try not to rely on filling the gaps later; tapering the planks is worth a special effort. If you don't mind me saying: I would suggest to check the position of gun ports two on each side regarding to the deck. If I see right on your photos they are sitting too high, so the guns will probably not fit. I had to make them a little lower, and this is best done before planking.  

You are making great progress, I love watching.


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Tony, if you have a hazy memory it is because you don't dilute your PVA enough !

Here is my current quad on the Sherbourne landing pad.




This little beastie has a video camera on board yet fits in the palm of my hand !

The one on its way is rather larger than this but as you say, a first for MSW. It is a challenge in the hand/eye/brain co-ordination dept but

I'll do anything to keep these in trim for the Sherbourne.


Gregor, I don't mind you saying at all, your build fills me with inspiration, and you are correct on both counts.

I spend a lot of my waking hours thinking how to get the ports and the planking correct.

The problem for me is trying to visualise in three dimensions. I thought that starting the garboard planking would be the best thing to do

but could not work out the best way to approach this hence starting at the bulwarks. 

I suppose in the end it is all down to experience - once you have done one the second is easier etc.

Still, it is great fun and having the support and encouragement of everyone here only adds to the fun !


The photo shows the current state of my build so I'll have to do some more building before another post....pip pip !

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  • 3 weeks later...

After a couple of weeks faffing around trying to work out the best way to do the second planking I thought I would start at the bulwarks and see what happens.

It is painfully slow as I am doing two planks at a time (one each side) after heeding your collected advice and trying to get as good a fit as possible. I am also trying to ensure that the planks are equal either side when viewed from the bows and stern.

I need to add stealers now but find it difficult cutting them to an exact (ish) fit. The walnut also has a habit of breaking when you don't want it to and I think it may be too thick to cut properly with a scalpel blade especially as it needs to be scored through a few times.

My question is would you glue the plank in situ and then cut out for the stealer when the glue has set or cut out for the stealer before gluing ? I hope this makes sense and would appreciate a few suggestions of your preferred methods. Thanks in anticipation...off to drive that train now !

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This kind of thing does take careful measurement and patience. I cut before laying the plank, but always oversize so that I can then trim it down wherever necessary. If the walnut is breaking, then you can always wipe it with a dilute solution of PVA and let it dry a while before planking. Heat will allow it to bend easily.


As to cutting the walnut, I use a single-sided razor blade in a thick handle (e.g. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stanley-Razor-Edge-Scraper-Blades/dp/B0001IW65I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1399985407&sr=8-2&keywords=single+sided+razor+blades), or else a scalpel with a new heavy blade.


I'm not quite clear what you mean by cutting in situ -- something I would imagine could be fairly risky in terms of damaging the hull and making mistakes. That shouldn't be necessary. One edge (as far as I know, and that is of course very little) will always be a straight edge, and the other you will be cutting to fit. If the fit is wrong, just cut another piece. That would be much harder to do if you try to do it in situ.


Others may, as usual, have better ideas. I'm just throwing in my experience.



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Iain, I agree with Tony. I used a sharp blade and a metal ruler to cut a rough outline only. Then I used sandpaper and a sanding block to get the curved shape of a plank. I would never dare to cut at a plank already glued on (I forgot most of my latin during the last thirty years). I left the space für the stealers to fill in later - I hope you will be more careful with the geometry than me, a thing I have always trouble imagining in three dimensions on a hull. I made a "paper stealer", pressing a thin paper to the planks surrounding the place where the stealer has to fit in. That will give you a rough template for the walnut stealer plank. 

Good luck,


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Tony and Gregor, thank you for your replies, both are very interesting. I had not considered watered down PVA (anything watered down normally does not seem right !) and the paper templates both of which I will try. Gregor's comment about imagining in three dimensions also rang a bell, I too find this quite difficult. Anyway I will have a week to think about it as I am off to the mists of Birmingham on my annual narrow boating holiday.

It's a shame they nearly all have steel hulls as they could have provided some inspiration !

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